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[See update at the end of this post]

It's fun to check in with Memeorandum now and then to see what the righties are linking to. Yesterday they were swarming like flies to a carcass to a story that appears to be phony.

I say "appears"; maybe it isn't. It's hard to tell, for reasons that I hope become apparent as you read this post. The point of this post is not to prove or disprove certain allegations, but to illustrate how, shall we say, uncritical reading and writing can create a lot of smoke without there necessarily being a fire.

So, here we go:

An editorial in the Washington Times alleged that Air America Radio is stealing money from poor children and sick old people.

Did Al Franken's liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That's the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America.

Now, this may be true, but it can't be verified through the Department of Investigation web site. And as I examined various other stories it seems no one has verified this claim with the D of I directly. So how does the Washington Times know about this outrage? From "sources quoted anonymously by the Bronx News," it says.

I live about a ten minutes' drive from the Bronx and wasn't aware there is a Bronx News. Nor could I find the Bronx News through Google. There is a Bronx Times, and the Bronx Times recently carried a story about the legal difficulties of this same community center, the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, but there was no mention in that story of Air America.

So for the moment, put aside the Bronx News, which may or may not exist. What about the other sources? "The New York Daily News buried an item at the end of a column of news briefs," says the Washington Times. I will return to the Daily News in a moment. The Washington Times also says,

We only found out about it through the reporting of Brian Maloney, who pieced a story together on his blog "The Radio Equalizer" which was picked up by syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin.

OK, now we're getting somewhere. So I googled for Brian Maloney--A talk host since 1993, Time Magazine compared Brian Maloney to Rush Limbaugh--and found Maloney's version of the story--  "Air America's Dirty Dough."

What happens when the mainstream media, after years of seething over conservative talk radio's success, discover its alternative got diverted public funds, earmarked instead for inner-city youth and seniors?

The answer, with one key exception: they pretend it didn't happen.

Yes, only because of a New York Daily News tidbit do we know that Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club nearly shut down major programs recently, because almost $500,000 in governmental grant money was instead diverted to Air America's liberal radio network.

I'm sure the Air America gang would be astonished to find out they are "mainstream media's alternative" to conservative talk radio, but let's go on ... Here's the "tidbit":

In its initial announcement, the DOI said it was probing allegations that program officials "approved significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various city agencies."

According to published reports, the allegations involve Charles Rosen, the founder of Gloria Wise who has stepped down as executive director, investing city contract funds in Air America Radio, the liberal talk radio network.

Evan Cohen, Air America's former chairman, had served as Gloria Wise's director of development.

I emphasized the "published reports" line because we're going to investigate what those "published reports" are.

If you were to read this paragraph carelessly, you would think that the Department of Investigation is investigating Air America. But that's not what it says; it says the D of I is investigating the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. In addition, published reports (from where?) say that Air America is involved.

On the hunt for the "published reports"-- in this paragraph, Maloney provides his chief source of information:

On July 5, for example, a community newspaper called the Gotham Gazette published a story by Michael Horowitz that laid out the evolving scandal in detail. Why wasn't this on the AP wire straightaway?

Maloney's link leads to a blank page, but I'm reasonably sure this is the story he's talking about. In "Youth Funds Diverted to Liberal Radio Station," Michael Horowitz of the elusive Bronx News explains what he learned from "unidentified informed sources."

The Bronx News has learned, through informed sources, that the diversion of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in Co-op City to the liberal Air America Radio is at the center of the city's probe of corruption at the local club.

Informed sources from where? The NYC Department of Investigation? The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club? The bar across the street? A ouija board? Michael Horowitz's butt? Horowitz never says. However, Horowitz continues,

At the center of the investigation, in addition to Charles Rosen, the charismatic leader of the local club for the last 15 years, is Evan Cohen, who resigned, under fire, as chairman of Air America Radio shortly after its start as an alternative to conservative talk radio.

 Cohen, at the time the alleged transfers of funds from the Gloria Wise Club to Air America took place, was also the director of Development for the local boys' and girls' club, the News has learned.

You can read more about Evan Cohen at Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, Cohen resigned from (or was forced out of) his association with Air America Radio because Air America believed Cohen's numbers weren't crunching. So, it is possible (unlike rightie bloggers, I like to make a distinction between conjecture and evidence) that Air America and the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club were both victims of money mishandling by Cohen.

Remarkably, the most damning bit of evidence I've found so far comes from Air America itself. This statement says the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club gave money to Progress Media, Evan Cohen's company. And here's what Wikipedia says about that:

 

Air America was started as part of Progress Media, which said it had amassed $30 million in venture capital prior to its debut, a claim which later turned out to be untrue (only $6 million was initially collected). Two individuals from Guam, Rex Sorensen and Evan Montvel Cohen, were involved in raising the capital but denied any wrongdoing. Cohen had an unusual history for his position in a progressive-left radio network since he was a Republican political operative in Guam and former chief of staff for Republican Governor Tommy Tanaka. Cohen dismissed concerns by saying he was a committed "progressive" and that Republicans in Guam "are left of Paul Wellstone." It was reported that Cohen had unpaid business debts in Guam, although Cohen denies this. Tommy Tanaka pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2003.

What appears to have happened--and, note, this is conjecture again--is that the execs at Gloria Wise funneled money into Progress Media that they shouldn't have funneled. And what the righties and Michael Horowitz seem to have done is treat "Progress Media" and "Air America Radio" as synonyms, even though the two entities parted company over a year ago. Since everyone is a bit vague as to when this alleged funneling occurred, I can't tell whether it happened while AAR was still part of Progress Media, or after. And even if it was while, since AAR was (I believe) a subsidiary of PM and not the entire company, it doesn't necessarily follow that funds received by PM went to AAR.

As I said at the start of this post, I'm not attempting to prove or disprove the allegations. I'm just trying to track down where the allegations are coming from and how solidly they are sourced.

Hugh Hewitt is all over this story and provides a number of links. For example, in this post Hewitt links to a Form 990 filed by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club for the period ending Jne 2003. I looked at every page; nothing about Air America. But, by golly, it's a link to a real document. That Hewitt is one crack investigator.

In this post, Hewitt writes,

The Philly Inquirer did have this story on AA last month, and note that it does not distinguish between the Air America of spring 2004 and Air America of today. That's because it doesn't matter who "borrowed" the money from the kids and the Alzheimer's patients. It matters where the money went --which was into Al Franken's already well lined pockets, as well as the pockets of everyone else receiving Air America paychecks at the time of the diversion.

It took some doing to get through the Philly Inquirer's highly annoying registration firewall, but I finally did. The story, posted on July 28 by Beth Gillin, Inquirer Staff Writer, is all about Air America's struggle to establish itself and grow ratings, and about how it isn't anywhere close to beating out rightie Big Mouths like Rush Limbaugh. But there's nothing in this story about Progress Media, the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club or any other possibly illegal misuse of money.

In other words, Hewitt links to something that one might assume supports what he says, but it doesn't.

Mr. Hewitt continues,

Here is the web site for the Gloria Wise Community Center. Here's the link to the Center's Camp Air America. What do campers learn? Creative accounting.

Hewitt doesn't actually link to Camp Air America, btw. But here is the link.  You can see an announcement that Morning Sedition would be raising money for the camp this June and July. Air America says,

We at Air America Radio strongly believe in the mission of Boys and Girls Clubs to provide a safe and nurturing place for young people to learn and grow. As a result, we recently allowed the same club, Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, to use our name in a fundraising effort for a summer camp for children in their community.

The funding for Camp Air America was raised and collected entirely by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, and Air America promoted the camp on air and urged support for it. A link on our web site sent those interested in contributing to the camp to the Gloria Wise web site. Regrettably, the camp did not survive the closure of the Gloria Wise organization. We have offered any individuals who contributed to the camp as a result of Air America's promotion the option of a refund paid for by Air America Radio and the Club offered the alternative option of having their donation redirected to Kip's Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Not exactly a smoking gun; more like an empty water pistol.

BTW, the camp also claimed to be partnered with Coca Cola, Microsoft, and a whole lot of other organizations and foundations that (I assume) donated money or something. By Hewitt's logic, all of these companies and organizations are also under investigation.

Here's Hewitt's trump card:

 

CNN's "Inside Politics" blog sp[ecialists [sic] Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner spent the entire second segment of today's show on Air America's woes.  

And here's the bit of CNN transcript Hewitt finds significant (emphasis added by me):

 

  Here's the transcript of the CNN "Inside Politcs" segment on Air America's Children's Crusade:

    JOHNS: Air America Radio is attracting a lot of attention from bloggers today. For more on that, let's check in with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton, and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter -- Jacki.

    SCHECHNER: Hi, Joe.

    Well, many of the conservative bloggers are talking about a New York investigation into the possible diversion of funds from an inner city Boys and Girls Club to the liberal radio station Air America. This started with Brian Maloney over at TheRadioEqualizer.blogspot.com.

    He picked up a small mention as part of a larger article in the "New York Daily News." And as part of that article, it turns out that the former CEO of Air America was also on the board of that Boys and Girls Club. And that's where the investigation continues right now into what sort of diversion of funds may have taken place.

    TATTON: Working with Brian Maloney on the store is Michele Malkin at MicheleMalkin.com. She's been really pushing it. This is a blogger driven story that she feels is not getting enough coverage in the mainstream media.

    Michele has been linking to statements put out from Air America on this case. What they're essentially saying is the funds in question that are being investigated were to previous business owners of Air America, that they have nothing to do with those preview business owners and so they are not responsible for what's going on here.

    The debate carrying on at DailyKos.com, whether webmaster of Air America, that's Adam Mordecai, is posting the most recent statement saying that they have no obligation to the previous business owners, but their still working with the Boys and Girls Club. And very much the Boys and Girls Club very much has the support of Air America.

    SCHECHNER: That did not stop the conservative blogs from posting all sorts of headlines like "Al Franken Steals Money From Kids and Old Folks" or things like JackLewis.net, "Liberals Stealing From Poor Kids." They really, you could take your pick of blogs on this one. That sort of vein.

    But over at the larger blogs like WhizbangBlog.com, they're doing what Michele Malkin and what Brian are doing, and they're looking deeper into the statement from Air America saying whatever the answers are at this point, it's not enough for them. And they are going to continue to push the investigation.

    Joe, we will send it back to you.

Let's recap. What do we have so far? All allegations that the allegedly pilfered Gloria Wise money went to Air America Radio are based on one, and only one, source: Michael Horowitz in the prestigious, if ephemeral, Bronx News. And Horowitz got his information from "informed sources" of undetermined origin.

And, folks, that's it. Brian Maloney picked up Horowitz, and Hewitt and Michelle Malkin picked up Maloney, and by means of much huffing and puffing and overheated rhetoric (Malkin:  "Will Air America's self-proclaimed champions of the poor and downtrodden--Franken? Garafolo? Springer?--touch this story with a ten-foot pole?") the righties manage to create much smoke without any visible fire. The rightie bloggers link to each other's allegations as "proof"; they link to anything they can find that mentions Air America in a negative light as "proof"; but in fact nothing has been made public that supports Malkin's claim ...

 

Air America is being investigated in New York for diverting federal/local funds--possibly "hundreds of thousands of dollars"--meant for inner-city kids and senior into the station's coffers.

...other than the "informed sources" quoted by Michael Horowitz in the Bronx News.

The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club is being investigated, yes. I infer that Progress Media is involved. But no authoritative source has said that Air America is being investigated. Maybe it is, but you can't tell that from the sources provided by the righties.

Here is another part of Air America's response to the allegation:

If the allegations of mismanagement and corruption at Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club are true, it is absolutely disgraceful.

 As reported in the Wall Street Journal and the HBO Documentary, Left of the Dial, the company that the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club officials gave money to, Progress Media, has been defunct since May 2004.  That company was run at the time by Evan Cohen who has not had any involvement in Air America Radio since May 2004.

 The current owners of Air America Radio have no obligation to Progress Media,s business activities.  We are very disturbed that Air America Radio's good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people, which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club as a result of this transaction.

The literacy challenged Brian Maloney interprets the statement above as an admission of guilt. And if AAR washed their hands of the mess entirely, I'm sure Maloney would be whining that AAR was shirking its responsibilities.

Can we say this allegation is "undersourced"? I believe we can.

Yesterday a number of rightie bloggers linked to the Washington Times editorial quoted at the beginning of this post, creating quite a buzz. Let's check in with The Anchoress:

   

If you have not been following the story of how Air America sayed on the air by apparently using money meant for children and the elderly well, where have you been?

    I admit when the story first broke, I figured it would be yet another story wherein the liberal/left perps get a free ride from the press (ala Sandy Berger) as the story disappears. And that may still happen...as it stands right now, the MSM has NOT covered any of this. But right now I'd say a blogswarm is begun, and that Al Franken (who is considering running for public office) has a few questions to answer along the "what did he know and when did he know it" lines.

    Go-to bloggers on this are Brian Maloney (just keep scrolling down) who Hugh Hewitt says "owns" the story, along with Ed Morrissey, Michelle Malkin, Macho Nachos, Mark in Mexico, (who has a MAJOR link compilation) Wizbang, LaShawn and, of course, Hugh Hewitt.

And this fellow compiled a longer list of links.

But if you follow the links, what you find is that they're all just linking to each others' allegations, and the allegations are ultimately all based on the one, single, lamely substantiated source--Michael Horowitz of the Bronx News.

So, I'm fixing to send a story to one of those "newspapers" full of coupons that get stuffed into my mailbox every week about how Karl Rove is an Iranian counterspy, and we leftie bloggers can all link to that and each other and call it a "swarm." And maybe we'll get mentioned on CNN! Whatta ya say?

UPDATE: The disappointingly pathetic Commissar of The Politboro Diktat has called me a "liar" because he was able to find the Bronx News by googling. Not that the Bronx News has it's own web site, mind you, because it doesn't, and that was my point. He found the Bronx News in some online directory.

Some people here on Kos Diaries found the same thing yesterday. One of them called the phone number. Nobody there. Real newspapers have staff in the office on Saturday.

I still haven't gotten my hands on a copy of The Bronx News, but that will be one of my projects next week. I suspect strongly it's an advertising circular.

But this just exemplifies the misdirection technique Righties are so good at. The Commissar does not address or disprove my point, which is that this entire "swarm" is based on the word of ONE writer, published in a very minor "newspaper," and this one writer says he got the information from two anonymous "informed sources" of unspecified origin. All other news stories that claim Air America is under investigation are basing this claim on the Horowitz article.

Lordy, righties get more and more pathetic every minute, don't they?

Originally posted to maha on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh My (4.00)
    Well, it sounds like, to summarize:

    "The previous owners of Air America may have had some unethical dealings with a non-profit organization in New York."

    I guess I'm supposed to be screaming and tearing my garments or something?

    "Ladies and gentlemen, the Bushes aren't married. They have an arrangement." -- Rush Limbaugh.

    by bink on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:43:13 AM PDT

    •  Not just former "owners" --Republicans (4.00)
      masquerading as progressives.  Crooked, thieving, lying selfish Republicans pretending to be progressives in order to line their own pockets.  And, not only did the rethug fakes steal money, they could have undermined the initial setup of Air America.  

      If you remember, there were some contract issues at the beginning for Air America and some rethugs halted the programming even though the contracts were in place.  Looks like the Rovian GOP is pulling every crooked scheme possible to deter Air America and our freedom to listen to GREAT media (instead of that canned garbage from Clear Channel).

      Air America...which said it had amassed $30 million in venture capital prior to its debut, a claim which later turned out to be untrue (only $6 million was initially collected). Two individuals from Guam, Rex Sorensen and Evan Montvel Cohen, were involved in raising the capital but denied any wrongdoing. Cohen had an unusual history for his position in a progressive-left radio network since he was a Republican political operative in Guam and former chief of staff for Republican Governor Tommy Tanaka.

      Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

      by bronte17 on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 11:00:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't Randi stop taking a salary then? (4.00)
        and was paying her people out of her own pocket because this rightwing asshole screwed over AAR so badly.

        Sounds like the assholes had big plans to stop AAR before it was able to do any "damage" to the rightwing stranglehold on radio.

        •  Randi did do that, what a goddess! (none)
          According to the Wall Street Journal, no less!

          One of the network's on-air personalities, Randi Rhodes, formerly of WJNO in West Palm Beach, Fla., opened her own checkbook when her staff wasn't paid. Ms. Rhodes says she found "a group that was running the place that was absolutely not up to it." The New York studio had no air conditioning and some technical equipment didn't work. In its first few days, the network sometimes sputtered off the air.

  •  Just one voice, singing in the darkness... (4.00)
    Somebody's been stealing from the Bolton playbook.

    Say somebody is under investigation, insist upon it, and people will listen. And repeat it. Even if nobody else is saying it. After a few weeks, it's an incontrovertible "fact."

  •  Thanks maha (4.00)
    The Webmaster for Air America posted also, so I'll note it here just for completeness.

    It seems to me that an organization that donated to Air America is being investigated for corruption.  Air America did not know anything about it, and has returned the money.

    Ken Salazar (D-CO), who said he'll vote for the Flag Desecration Amendment, needs to hear from us.

    by OLinda on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:51:11 AM PDT

  •  And one (none)
    of the right's favorite allegations against the SCLM is the use of anonymous sources.

    "You think you can intimidate me? Screw you. Choose your Weapon." Eliot Spitzer

    by bonddad on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:52:49 AM PDT

  •  well done - a thorough job (4.00)
    too bad many of the reporters for MSM do not seem to know how to use Google to do some basic reserach which might keep them from some of their more egregious mistakes.  Highly recommended.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:55:03 AM PDT

  •  Send this Diary to the CNN Blog Bimbos (4.00)
    Attach a note with the following: clink on the links in a blog before reporting a story as if it was accurate.

    Great work!

  •  Great work. (none)
    Put up a tip jar.

    "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

    by scorponic on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:06:35 AM PDT

  •  Great article and I'll recommend it, but.... (4.00)
    I found this with a quick Dogpile search (always use Dogpile, it's Google on steroids):

    Bronx News
    662 Main Street
    New York, NY 10460
    718-671-1234

    You might want to give them a call and ask about this Michael Horowitz guy.

    •  Thanks (4.00)
      I figured it probably exists in some form or another, although without having seen an issue I suspect it's more of an advertising circular than a newspaper.
      •  Actually (4.00)
        If you do a reverse phone # search on Google, you find that the address is correct, but it is in NEW ROCHELLE, NY, not in NY NY.  The area code tipped me off.

        It looks like it may be some outfit that publishes a lot of local publications/advertising circulars.

        •  (718) 671-1234 (4.00)
          Phone book listing:

          Parkchester News, (718) 671-1234, 662 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

          Also:
          City News (718-671-1234)
          Bronx Times Reporter (718 718-671-1234)

          Bronx News/ Parkchester News / City News
          Phone:(718)671-1234 or (718)320-3071

          A "Bronx News" reporter uses @hagnews.com for email.

          hagnews.com

          Registrant:
          Hagedorn Communications, Inc.
             662 Main Street
             New Rochelle, NY 10801
             US

             Domain Name: HAGNEWS.COM

             Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
                Hagedorn, Christopher                      
                Hagedorn Communications, Inc.
                662 Main Street
                New Rochelle, NY 10801
                US
                (914) 636-7400

          Hagedorn Communications, Inc. publishes real estate guides.

          With another office on Madison Avenue:

          Hagedorn Communications Corp
          1 Madison Avenue # 25a - New York, NY
          212-679-1234
          Gramercy Park

          Hagedorn Communications, started with Town & Village, a weekly newspaper for two large apartment complexes on Manhattan's East Side, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. It now publishes various other weeklies in Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
          Someone want to ask Hagedorn why they have an interest in running a smear campaign?
          •  Some more fragments (4.00)
            From a detailed 1995 profile of Chris Hagedorn in Bronx Beat Online, headlined: "City News publisher relishes a good fight. But targets of his barbed criticism say he's biased":  

            Operating out of a converted public library in New Rochelle, Hagedorn, the founder, president and owner of Hagedorn Communications, is both editor and publisher of six weekly newspapers covering the Bronx, Manhattan, Rockland and  Westchester Counties.  His favorite is the 16,000-circulation City News which dishes up to readers the happenings of Co-op City.

            ...

            The newspaper business is in Hagedorn's blood.  Born in 1944 in Atlanta, where his father was stationed as an Army public information officer, Hagedorn was raised in Manhattan.  In 1947, his father, Charles, started Town and Village, a weekly newspaper covering the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village communities in Manhattan.  

            Hagedorn attended Brown University, where he was editor of the student  newspaper.  Following his 1967 graduation, Hagedorn resisted a notion to become a lawyer and enrolled in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  After his first marriage ended in divorce in 1987, Hagedorn remarried in 1992.  He has two sons with his second wife, the publisher of one of his papers, the Rockland Review.

            His father's 1997 obit in the University of Pennsylvania Gazette:

            Charles G. Hagedorn, C'39, Mamaroneck, N.Y., retired publisher of a small chain of newspapers in New York and Connecticut; November 17, 1997. The chain, Hagedorn Communications, started with Town & Village, a weekly newspaper for two large apartment complexes on Manhattan's East Side, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. It now publishes various other weeklies in Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

            Chris Hagedorn owned the Greenwich Post when it was sued for libel in 2001 by Michael Skakel, then about to go on trial for the murder of Martha Moxley.  

            The Post had run a story quoting convicted felon Sherman "Tad" Baldwin's accusation that Skakel had taken part in a 1975 robbery of a hair salon. Skakel's suit said the Post had been warned that the allegation was untrue and that Baldwin was unreliable, but published the article anyway.  The suit claimed the article would taint the jury pool.  The Post printed a retraction. More also from the Greenwich Time.

            By 2003, Hersam Acorn Newspapers owned the Greenwich Post (est. circ. 25,000 in 2002) and was pleased to write about Chris Hagedorn's dream house in New Canaan without mentioning his line of work or former ownership of the Post.  

            In the piece, you meet his second wife, Cynthia, who turns out to have been associate publisher of the Greenwich Post.

            Last, and undoubtedly least, another address for the Bronx News from the Bronx Community Board:

            BRONX NEWS
                   163 Dreiser Loop
                   Bronx, New York 10475
                   (718) 671-1234
                   FAX: (914) 636-2957
                   Chris Hagedorn, Editor
                   Michael Horowitz
                   (718) 320-0215

            I tried the Wayback Machine for http://www.hagnews.com and found only a sad series of "site being developed" notices trailing back years.  Whois says the domain is owned by Network Solutions, which, has similar "being developed" notices trailing it through time.

            "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

            by KateCrashes on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 09:04:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bronx papers (none)
              The Bronx does not have any daily papers, but it does have tons of weekly and monthly papers. These are more than advertising circulars, but they generally have just 1-3 reporters. It's just the reality. Many of them are owned by Hagedorn or Wolfe or other publishers who put out separate papers for individual areas.

              Yes, the Bronx is bigger than most cities, but we do not have a daily paper and rely on the weeklies for coverage since what happens here is of little or no interest to the Times or other "citywide" dailiess.

          •  Article ... (none)
            I read the Horowitz article, and except for the headline, it seemed accurate and not very inflamatory.
            •  How do you know it's accurate? (none)
              Horowitz got his information that Air America is being investigated from unidentified sources. Now, as I've said, this may be true. My point is that if your only source is ONE article in ONE rinky-dink publication based on unidentified sources, this is not exactly rock solid. This is less documentation than Dan Rather had for the Killian memos.
              •  How do I know what? (none)
                How do you know anything is accurate? It's all phrased very tentatively. We know for sure is that the program was shut down, Cohen was the development director, the member of congress and the city worked to transfer the contracts so that camp opened a week  late, and there is some kind of invetigation going on. Invetigators spoke off the record about an ongoing investigation, which maybe they shouldn't have done. Would it really shock you if Cohen did this? Given his history it wouldn't shock me.
                •  Sources (none)
                  It's called "reliable sources," dear, as opposed to "pulling stuff out of one's butt."

                  I've done a little bit of newspaper reporting, years ago. It's hard. Lots of people tell you many contradictory things, and you have to put a story together by deadline. You don't have days and days to investigate who's telling the truth. So a reader must always assume a reporter can be mistaken. And a reporter must always assume the source might be wrong, or even lying. That's why it's important to let people know where you got your information. But Horowitz doesn't do that. He just says "informed sources." OK, so they want to be anonymous. But even then, he should have written where the "informed sources" were coming from. For example, "according to an official at the Department of Investigation," or "according to an employee of the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club" or some such. Without that, there is no story. There's just a rumor.

                  •  press releases (none)
                    I guess you are having a bad day, so you think that papers should just print the press releases, but here is probably a reprint of the press release that is probably one of the sources of the story:

                    http://www.nynp.biz/newspage.shtml

                    Friday, July 08, 2005
                    Gloria Wise City-Funded Programs Transferred Following DOI Investigation
                    - fred_scaglione @ 11:07 am EST
                    City-funded programs previously operated by the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club and the affiliated Pathways for Youth Boys and Girls Club, both in the Bronx, have been successfully transferred to other providers without disruption of services.

                    On Friday, June 24th, New York City's Department of Investigation announced that Gloria Wise and Pathways for Youth had been determined "Non-Responsible City contractors" based on an on-going investigation "concerning allegations that, among other things, officials of Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club approved significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various City agencies."

                    Gloria Wise's Executive Director Charles Rosen and Assistant Executive Director Jeffrey Aulenbach have both resigned, according to an agency spokesperson.

                    As a result of the ongoing investigation, programs operated under contracts with the Department for Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the Department for the Aging (DFTA) have been transferred to other providers.

                    Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) is now operating three senior centers in Co-Op City as well as NORC and EISEP programs. "The Bartow, Dreiser and Einstein Senior Centers serve approximately 210 seniors daily," says Christopher Miller, a DFTA spokesperson. "That transition has been going very well. There has been no disruption in services to seniors."

                    "We started providing service on July 5th with the current staff," says Aileen Gitelson, CEO at JASA.

                    DYCD transferred a total of seven programs - four Beacons as well as individual Summer Youth Employment (SYEP), In-School Youth (ISY) and Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention (YDDP) programs. Alianza Dominicana is now operating the MS 201 Beacon. Police Athletic League is operating the IS 192 Beacon. Mosholou Montefiore has taken over Beacon programs at MS 142 and JHS 113. Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club is operating the SYEP program. SOBRO has taken over the ISY program and Alliance of Guardian Angels received the YDDP operation.

                    "There were no problems," says Michael Ognibene, DYCD Chief of Staff. "As of July 5th, everything that should have been operating was operating."
                    Information on the transfer of programs under contract with the Department of Education was not yet available.

                    In many cases, it appears that the program staff from Gloria Wise and Pathways for Youth will continue to provide services under the new management. "The people who have been working there have been offered jobs," says Gitelson. "There is a place for everyone who wants to stay."

                    Agency Expresses Pride and Regret; Vows to Continue Camp and Pre-School
                    - fred_scaglione @ 11:04 am EST
                    A Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club spokesperson released the statement following announcement of the DOI investigation and the termination of its City contracts:

                    "All of us at Gloria Wise Community Center are proud of our decades-long service in the Bronx. We deeply regret that, as a result of errors in judgment by the former Gloria Wise executive director, which did not result in improper personal gain by anyone associated with Gloria Wise, New York City has terminated its funding to our organization, as of June 30... The Goosebay Nursery programs, however, will continue, as well as the Gloria Wise Summer Camp programs that have been operating for decades. We are committed to maintaining our relationship with Bronx residents--particularly those in Co-op City--and hope that our quality services and programs, which are greatly needed in this community, will be continued."

                    Looks like they issued a press release. Personally, if I were a reporter getting this I would sure try to find out what the hell was going on and put in a call to the DOI, but then again, maybe I don't have all your extensive experience with reporting.

                    Also here's the press release from Rep.  Crowley's office:
                    http://crowley.house.gov/news/record.asp?id=674


                    Bronx, NY- On Monday July 25th, Congressman Joseph Crowley, hosted a briefing on the status of programs at Gloria Wise. Prior to the meeting, he sat down with representatives from the Jewish Association for Seniors for Aged (JASA) to discuss the transition process and the status of programs. For the last month, Crowley and his staff have spent countless hours working with the City of New York, the Co-op City community, Bronx elected officials and the new contractors who will be taking over Gloria Wise programs.

                    "These programs are the life blood of Co-op City. We knew it would be necessary to not only pull together quickly, but to also solicit the help of other community organizations to keep the Gloria Wise programs running. This is a work in progress, but at this point I am pleased with the incredible progress that has been made over the last few weeks," stated Crowley.

                    Congressman Crowley has secured more than half a million in funding for Gloria Wise programs over the last few years. JASA will be taking over the Senior programs as well as the Handicapped Adult Association program. The youth programs, formerly run by Goosebay Nursery, Pathways for Youth and Gloria Wise will continue uninterrupted under new contractors (see attached). Crowley will continue to work with the new contractors in securing funding for the local programs.

                    "My first priority is to do everything I can to keep these programs running. In the upcoming weeks and months, we will be focused on making sure there is limited interruption in service and that the workers and community members have the information they need and access to the assistance essential to a continued smooth transition," continued Crowley.

          •  City News (none)
            According to Google the phone number listed for the (Co-op) City News, the paper Michael Horowitz writes for is listed at:

            City News, (718) 320-0215, 135 Dreiser Loop, Bronx, NY 10475

            This seems to be the correct name for the newspaper.

            Dreiser Loop is in Co-op CIty which for those who don't know New York is a massive co-operative complex in the Baychester neighborhood, with a population of about 50,000 and financed under the Mitchell-Lama program.

            Co-op City has several weekly newspapers or local editions of borough-wide weeklies, a library, and  numerous social service agencies of which Gloria Wise was one.

            Michael Horowitz, in addition to being Executive Editor of the City News has, according to google, been on the Baychester Library Branch planning Committee, has covered the founding of BronxFreecycle and has bee on "Bronx Talk" to discuss privatization of Co-op City (he is mainly in favor).

    •  You might ask them (4.00)
      if there is anyone named Guckert or Gannon working there...
      •  Good luck (4.00)
        I dialed the number and let it ring a long time. Nobody answered !

        Let's get some Democracy for America

        by murphy on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:55:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its Saturday. (none)

          "Wisdom is a light in the heart that distinguishes between truth and falsehood." - Prophet Mohammad

          by Krum on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 12:41:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but, NOBODY there on a Saturday... (none)
            I don't think I've ever worked anywhere that didn't have someone in the office on a Saturday. Boy, I'd love to have their work schedule.

            ...Freedom is on the march. Straight to the gas chamber. this is infidelica...

            by snookybeh on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 01:19:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  At least a recording (none)
              saying call back on Monday ! Something !

              Let's get some Democracy for America

              by murphy on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 03:05:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well ... (none)
              You've obviously not ever worked in a two or three person office!
              •  Then that means... (none)
                ...that this "big-time newspaper" that the wingies have as their sole cite really isn't that "big-time" after all.  
                •  It's not (none)
                  It's not a big time newspaper, it's a weekly part of a chain of weeklies that all share the same reporters. That doesn't make it a bad paper or the reporters bad reporters, any more than any other weekly that covers local schools traffic and zoning.  I don't like Hagedorn's politics, but on the whole I find the reporting pretty accurate. What's sad, in reality, is the little coverage that the NY dailies give to what is happening out here.
                  •  Do Learn to Read (none)
                    My point was not to prove or disprove whether the allegations against Air America are true. It may be that Michael Horowitz is right. That wasn't my point. What is my point? To find out, why don't you actually read the post? Thanks much.
                    •  What's the point? (none)
                      My comment wasn't about your dairy, it was in response to the comment it responded to that responded to a previous comment of mine. I'm not sure what the point of your most comment was, that's for sure. Why so angry that someone who has actually read the print version of this newspaper is actually providing information about it and the political context of the article?

                      I personally think that the more important "point" of your dairy is not about the original article but about how reasonable articles in small publications are picked up and distorted by the right wing echo chamber. Thus I think that discussing whether or not Horowitz is a right wing tool a la Jeff Gannon is not the point. (Though honestly, Co-op City has to be one of the most highly  deomcratic locations in the country.) What will be interesting to see is if there are indictments and of who, and then how that is distorted once  again. That is a good reason to put  a stop to the misrepresentation--or better yet use it to discredit the misrepresenters--  now rather than later.

              •  Real newspapers (none)
                ... have staff working on weekends. Maybe a skeleton staff, but news doesn't stop happening on weekends.
                •  Okay (none)
                  Okay. If your definintion of a 'real newspaper" is that it has 24/7 staffing,it's not.  I'm guessing you don't read a lot of non-dailies though. If the during the week staff is one or two people, what would the skeleton staff be? And maybe the skeleton staff is out taking photos at the fire?
                  •  no voice mail? (none)
                    I would think in New York you guys would have voice mail by now, or at least answering machines. Heck, here in KY, we got voice mail n' stuff not long after we got our first pair of shoes. ;-)

                    Just sayin', they don't sound terribly legit to me.

                    ...Freedom is on the march. Straight to the gas chamber. this is infidelica...

                    by snookybeh on Sun Jul 31, 2005 at 07:48:57 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Honestly (none)
                      Honestly, I think  that the original article is not the issue, it is what Malkin et al. did with it.

                      It seems to be the case the Evan Cohen is aconartist--I've heard the Marks refer to him this way. He ripped off the city. He ripped off Air America employees. I've sure other people as well, including the intended clients of the Gloria Wise Club. He used some of the money that hegot by ripping off the city to rip of AAR employees. That is what con artists do, they steal money and use it as leverage to steal more money.

                      The local Bronx papers took some initiative and reported the story. Lots of kids and families were harmed by Cohen's actions and the local papers dared to actually interview investigators about it. The nerve!

                      The Right wing noise machine took the story and distorted it, making is seem as though AAR and not Evan Cohen stole the money from the city.

                      What you all seem to be implying is that somehow we in the Bronx should not have newspapers write articles telling us why popular and city funded programs are being shut down because it might be that Rush Limbaugh or his ilk will distort the story. If newspapers can only publish things that he and his partners in the right wing media machine might distort there will quickly cease to be newspapers.

                      •  Huh? (none)
                        >What you all seem to be implying is that somehow we in the Bronx should not have newspapers

                        No.

                        What we're wondering is why and how this particular paper -- a paper which has no website, much less online archives (thus making researching its contents dangerously time-consuming in an era when smears are broadcast around the world in milliseconds -- was chosen to be the key cite for a smear.  

                        •  Doubtful that it was "chosen" (none)
                          You think it was "chosen" for a "smear" .... Because it is obvious that no one in Co-op city would care that the summer camp opened a week late and that other programs were shut down? And therefore it is obvious that without Roveor someone else the Co-op City paper wouldn't dream of covering it?

                          Let's think Occam's Razor. The Bronx News and The Bronx Times Reporter have both had articles on the shut down of the club and it has also been discussed on Morning Sedition. The Daily News has one page per day of Bronx coverage, and it gets most of its stories that aren't "events" by reading the Bronx Weeklies. The Daily News prints an article. It is read by every media person  in New York, right left and center. One of the right wing people says hey, a great story to use to slime AAR.

                          •  The deal is... (none)
                            ...that nobody here is out to take a dump on the Bronx, OK?  (Being from Minnesota, I understand the tendency to suspect Folks From Outside of dumping on me -- in FlyOver Land, we get dumped on by Folks From Outside, especially Coasties, all the time.)

                            It looks like what it's coming down to is that Evan Cohen -- a known Republican operative -- was ripping off and lying to a lot of people beyond AAR's backers.  Since Cohen lost his AAR job over a year ago because of his scumminess, this should surprise absolutely no one.

                            Here's what I've been saying about this on other message boards:

                            If AAR should be responsible for something one of its ex-employees did, then why isn't George W. Bush resigning because somebody in his administration broke the law by leaking Valerie Plame's CIA status to the media?

                          •  Huh (none)
                            I don't really follow the logic of the post ... I think Bush should resign AND I think that the people responsible for ripping off the city should take the consequences for that too.

                            Nothing to do with being from the Bronx except that I recognize that it's hysterical that people on the right think it is shocking that corruption in the Bronx isn't covered by the national media and that people on dKos think that the the entire VRWC is focusing its energy on Co-op City.

                          •  Logic (none)
                            Occam's Razor works every time.

                            What's nice is that AAR has archives of all of its shows at AirAmericaPlace.com.  It would take me a while doing it myself but we can probably get a snippet of the Marx providing this disclaimer and post the relevant MP3 on the web somewhere.
                             

              •  no, I have (none)
                Small businesses usually can't afford to "take Saturday off" - somebody at least monitors the phone. Banks and such... they can get away with ignoring their potential customers on one of the few days that they have time to make phone calls.

                ...Freedom is on the march. Straight to the gas chamber. this is infidelica...

                by snookybeh on Sun Jul 31, 2005 at 07:45:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I worked in a 2 person office (none)
                and we had a voice mail system.

                Let's get some Democracy for America

                by murphy on Sun Jul 31, 2005 at 11:05:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I was gonna say (none)
        Michael Horowitz getting a White House press pass should be a slam dunk, based on this Pulitzer worthy work of journalistic integrity. What a loser.

        I Am The King Of The Eleven Comment Diary

        by CalbraithRodgers on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 11:03:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gannon (4.00)
        jeffGannon.com also posted on the "scandal".

        I am sure he is licking his wounds (and other body parts) after what AAR has said about him.

  •  Sounds like a ground-floor (4.00)
    republican dirty trick.

    Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

    by soonergrunt on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:24:48 AM PDT

  •  This serves, I think... (4.00)
    as an example of the difference between the caliber of investigative work down by the two sides.

    I would love to see some sort of competition between the PowerLine boys and the folks of e pluribus media.  Wagers on accuracy and comprehensiveness, anyone?

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by stumpy on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:28:52 AM PDT

    •  That sounds like a fun challenge (4.00)
      Contact a conservative blog, generate a big list of  random relatively non-partisan (perhaps international?) subjects or organizations to be investigated, have a script pick one at random, and investigate it for 24 hours.

      The winner gets the most beautiful of Internet luxuries: bragging rights.

      "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

      by jbeach on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:42:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The irony is (4.00)
      Michelle Malkin actually fancies herself a "journalist."

      Linking to 27 other blogs does not constitute an investigation in my book.  But I guess I could tell from her hysterical tone ("what excuses will the liberals come up with for THIS?!??") that she didn't have much in the way of evidence.

    •  Accuracy comparison IS a great idea (4.00)
      Walter Cronkite's biography described the competitiveness for accuracy that used to exist between (reputable) city newspapers. As an example, a city editor was chagrined when his reporter referenced the wrong street number address in a story about a house fire but the competition reported the number correctly--the fact of the number was almost meaningless to the content of the story but the emphasis was on integrity through accuracy.

      God, where have those days gone?

      Many pundits passively lament the unsubstantiated sensationalism posed by many blogs; I wonder if anyone has posed the idea to do an ongoing independent comparison ranking of blogs based on accuracy? Something like what factcheck.org does except on a blog-wide basis, not per news story.  Hmmm...I think I'll look into this...thanks for the inspiration.

  •  I'm just wanting to verify this.... (4.00)
    If I'm reading Air America's statement correctly, they're saying that months ago, even though they feel they have no responsiblity for the misdirected money, they paid it back to the Gloria Wise center.  Is that correct?  

    "Ignorance and prejudice and fear go hand in hand" - Neil Peart (Rush)
    different strings - a blog

    by thorswitch on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:38:13 AM PDT

    •  I rememember (none)
      the Morning Sedition on AAR where they talked about createing a fund to send inner city kids from the Bronx to camp.

      The NEW AAR (not funded by immoral Repugs masquerading as liberals to make a quick buck)is doing this.

      "Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by hopesprings on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 12:44:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite right... (none)
      They are saying that they intend to pay it back, but make no mention of actually doing so.

      You have to ask yourself why any organization would have agreed to do this if they didn't believe they had an obligation to do so. It's not like they're just donating a few bucks for good will.

  •  Just out of curiosity (none)
    I went onto Mapquest and looked up 662 Main Street, New York, NY. It is on Roosevelt Island, either in or across the street from a (city/county/borough) park called Blackwell Park.

    The address is nowhere near the Bronx, which may or may not mean anything at all.

  •  so this is how they (none)
    pass the buck ..... ie. bolton - miller - rove ..... but i heard it from a reporter ..... my ass!
  •  AAR is a very honorable company (4.00)
    And organization. Evan Montvel-Cohen was a crook. There's no other way to say it. He thought of AAR as a great way to scam liberal investors, that's all.
    AAR was lucky to survive his cynical predations. They are doing their best to make right all their obligations to the people he screwed, even though they may not be required to do so.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

    by AWhitneyBrown on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:51:32 AM PDT

  •  Great research, thank you! (4.00)
    This is one of the big reasons that I visit dailykos, to get solid, linked, thoughtful debunking of right wing trash talk. When I discuss (argue) these things with my conservative friends, they hate it when I can quote and link to original sources.
    Again, thank you.
  •  According to the Law (4.00)
    According to the Law of Republican Immorality Projection, if the Republicans are accusing a liberal news network of receiving stolen money, than its a lock that a Republican news network is receiving stolen money.

    I'd sure like to see EIB's books.

    •  Let's try out this rule (none)
      Repubs accuse:
              President Clinton of having affairs
      GOP Immorality Projection:
              President GHW Bush had an affair. CHECK

      Repubs accuse:
              Clinton benefited from shady real estate deals in AK.
      GOP Immorality Projection:
              GW Bush benefited from shady real estate deals in TX connected with the Texas Rangers stadium.  CHECK

      This is working quite well.

      However, it leads one to wonder:

      Repubs accuse:
              Clintons arranged the crash of Ron Brown's plane.
      Is the GOP Immorality Projection that the Wellstone and Carnahan plane crashes were arranged by Bush/Rove????

      Repubs accuse:
              Congressman Condit killed Girl friend Levy.
      Is the GOP Immorality Projection that the woman that died in suspicious circumstances in Scarborough's Washington office was murdered by him?

      And then there's Vince Foster.

      Somebody better stop this Immorality Projection Crime Wave.

    •  I have long believed (4.00)
      That if you want to know what the right-wing is up to, listen to what they're accusing others of doing. It hasn't failed so far, on anything that can be proven. I have my suspicions about the things that can't be proven.
  •  Research (4.00)
    I've been poking around, mainly because I knew a Michael Horowitz back when, and I think he worked on the college paper, but I'm finding that there are about 100 Michael Horowitzes in the NY area. :)

    Anyway, I found that the publisher of Bronx News is Chris Hagedorn, and I've been poking around and found this on Lexis-Nexis. I don't want to jump to conclusions, mainly because I can't quite get a grip on what they're saying. Are they saying that Hagedorn and the Moonies were going to publish a Spanish language newspaper together?

    "Spanish-language publications may be the newspaper industry's growth sector; circulation nationwide has tripled since 1990, to a daily circulation of 1.7 million in 2002, according to Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism. But don't tell that to the 38 staff members of Noticias del Mundo (World News), based in Long Island City, Queens. On April 16, they were told that the daily would publish its last issue this Friday.

    And don't tell Chris Hagedorn, whose company, Hagedorn Communications, publishes three Bronx weeklies and other city newspapers. For the past six months, his staff has been preparing to start El Sol del Bronx, or The Bronx Sun, which would have been the only boroughwide Spanish weekly, but he abandoned the idea, citing financial problems. ''Though people expressed enthusiasm,'' Mr. Hagedorn said, ''we were unable to garner the advertising support necessary.''

    Few Latinos had heard of El Sol, but many knew Noticias del Mundo, which started in 1980 and had a circulation of about 50,000, including 36,000 subscriptions, according to Diana Banister, a company spokeswoman. But Noticias was clearly third in the pecking order of New York's Spanish newspaper world, which is dominated by a battle between El Diario la Prensa, the city's oldest Spanish newspaper (founded in 1913 and with a current circulation of 50,000), and the upstart Hoy (1998, 94,000).

    Reverend Sun Myung Moon's News World Communications, which owns El Sol del Bronx, issued a statement that called its closing a ''repositioning of some of its media assets.'' The company, which owns The Washington Times and U.P.I., says it plans to strengthen a weekly Spanish-language paper, Tiempos del Mundo (World Times), that it publishes in Latin America, Washington and Miami.

    Ms. Banister offered little insight on the decision. ''They felt that an emphasis needed to be placed on their other publications,'' she said. But Noticias' police editor, Manuel Santana said the official explanation was ''not self-sufficient.''

    As for El Sol del Bronx, the market initially looked promising, Mr. Hagedorn said, because the Bronx is by far the city's most Hispanic borough. But it is also the city's most Puerto Rican borough, and many Puerto Ricans are second-, third-, and even fourth- and fifth-generation New Yorkers who prefer to read English-language publications. New York's Spanish weeklies tend to be directed toward national groups, like the Queens-based Ecuador News, or are bilingual community papers that write their articles in English and then translate them, like the Inwood-based Manhattan Times.

    ''I found it all a very disappointing experience,'' Mr. Hagedorn said. SETH KUGEL"

    From The New York Times
    April 25, 2004 Sunday

  •  Self-linking (none)
    The tendency of rightbloggers to link to each other as proof reminds me of how, in Jack Chick Certified Religious Indoctrination "comics", Chick has a tendency to link to books his written as proof of some lunatic claim or another.

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

    by jabbausaf on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 11:37:29 AM PDT

  •  This is an excellent diary (none)
    the research is great.  However, what difference will it make?  I hope I am wrong, that I am being excessively cynical, but the Right Wing media machine begins with some bogus journalism outfit, to the blogs and talk radio, from there to semi-legit newspapers like the Washington Times then on to CNN and more...

    Next week this may appear everywhere as the Right Wing transmission belt cranks into high gear.  We have seen this happen with innumerable stories at this point.  

    It is critical to the right that we never have a progressive answer to thier media machine.  We can tell the truth, they can't and if we could amplify the truth loud enough to be heard over the lies, they will start to lose traction and power.  Air America is something they must kill and soon if they want to keep their dominance.  That is a huge priority for them.  Something like this could lead to FCC investigations and more.  

    I don't see how they can outright kill Air America but I do see how they can bleed Air America of advertisers by trumpeting that AA steals from kids and the elderly.  I can imagine them using that to persuade Clear Channel to drop AA to avoid bad publicity.  

    This story scares me.  AA is still in its infancy and very vulnerable.  I don't know what can be done to diffuse this.

    •  What can be done? (4.00)
      Some people say not to jump on the defense on every attack but what the heck.

      I have followed this closely because I actually donated through PayPal when the 2 Marx were mentioning Camp Air America on AAR's Morning Sedition program in the spring.

      I won't ask for my money back because all that does is drain the bureaucratic overhead.

      But I also notice how similar this "scandal" appears to the Andy Stephenson brouhaha in the last couple of months. I also donated to Andy directly after AAR's Mike Malloy told of his pancreatic cancer plight.  The r-wingers really stooped low on claiming he faked his illness, given the fact he recently died.

      This kind of spin just makes me angry, so I blogged it here:
      http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2005/07/baloney-and-spew.html

      I finished listening to that blovatar AssMissile complaining about the AAR scandal on his local Mpls radio talk show.  They call it FrankenNet here, and the Hindrocket can't get over how Al ridiculed him during an interview a few months ago.

      The other thing I noted parenthetically:
      The underlying fever-current involves fear that the liberal network has gained traction and innovation in the Limbaugh-ruled world of talk-radio. Not too puzzling that the right wing talkers lack anything by way of innovations such as show-based message boards, blog comment sections, streaming radio, Democracy Now! podcasts, archives, and satellite radio that the fledgling upstarts have pioneered. Transient bursts of outrage remains the right radio's only outlet. So in fear of their flabbiness getting out-muscled they must counter-attack.

    •  This is a bigger story (none)
        The answer is to laugh at them. That really hurts.

        The setup on this diary is a great story of the lengths the right wing will go to scare up some negative propaganda. It is a fine explication of the process from start to dissemination; it is designed as a future reference as well as a current talking point.

        However, when the right wing does a story like this, it is always dangerous to them because at no point do they have a secure rock, the real fact or facts.

        Depending on what the link to the Horowitz character and the nature of the real (if indeed it is) investigation, this can turn into a real weapon. And AAR can also say, this is just like all the Republican talking points: fictions, created fictions that sound like facts but aren't. Tar that baby.

    •  just wondering (none)
      how the Rove disinformation/smear machine would handle actual, legitimate allegations of crime and corruption against themselves (say, for example, high treason against the United States). Not that the progressive side would stoop to such lows, but it could be interesting to just explore:

      1. blow it off as a "nonstory"

      2. distribute partisan talking point "has a crime really been committed here?"

      3. claim [AAR] was "just trying to help poor children and elderly and look what [other side] has done to sabotage that effort"

      4. have bow tie preppie pundit claim "who really cares about this story anyway??"

      AndyT, I share your concern about what depths they will go to blackout the journalistic sunshine of Air America Radio, but I am so goddamn sick of living in fear of them that I have to believe that truth will prevail. Among the best features I love about AAR is their courage, integrity and irreverence.

      Great diary, maha, and all contributors. I highly recommend.

      "They're gonna make it look like suicide. I know how these bastards think . . ." Hunter S. Thompson, February 19, 2005

      by vinylgirl on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:26:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Send this to every media outlet you know of... (4.00)
      ...THAT's what can be done.

      And let them know that if they run this as fact, AAR then can sue the crap out of them.

  •  Fairness, Truth, Accuracy (none)
    What a breath of fresh air that you have researched the facts. FACTS! What a quaint idea.

    In New York there is one segment with a valid gripe about Air America Radio--it replaced daytime broadcasts that were a unique resource for local Black Caribbeans. For lovers of good radio, the WLIB station that broadcasts Air America during the day DOES continue broadcasts of special interest to Black and Black Caribbean. . . .and they have a large, enthusiastic non-Black, non-Caribbean following from people who discovered them at the end of the Air America broadcast day.

    If you listen starting at midnight you might never get to sleep--it's that good!

  •  This is a great read (none)
    thanks so much for your informative comment.

    I like the part at the end where you join it all together, by saying they are all just linking to each others allegations.......Hilarious

      I love Air America! I recall hearing the first owner/backer was a wonk and really screwed the station, by lying about the funding.....he had said there was enough for three years, and there was only enough for three weeks...... so the radio crew all dug in and used their own money to keep the station afloat.....thank gawd!

      The righties are dreamin...... and it shows how they get their so called "news".

       Definitely not good journalism to play gossip gossip.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 12:12:29 PM PDT

  •  Superb investigative work! (none)
    Thanks, this is great work.
  •  I passed on to Will Bunch... (none)
    Philly Daily News blogger:

    http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/

    Maybe he and Beth Gillin can put this story out of its misery!

  •  Great research! (none)
    And very useful diary!!! I will use it in my favorite online sport: Whack-a-neocon with truth

    Weee!

    If being anti-child-sodomy is now considered the partisan position, then I'm going to be the biggest f---ing partisan on the planet.. - Hunter

    by lawnorder on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 12:26:37 PM PDT

  •  Sam thinks two things are fishy about this (4.00)
    One thing fishy, or rather pathetic is that nowadays all one has to do is complain on a blog that MSM isn't covering a story, and the wimpy MSM will feel shamed and actually cover it even if it is bullshit or not substantiated.  

    It's pathetic that it is so easy nowadays to push a story onto CNN, or other outlets just by being "outraged" about the lack of coverage for it.  This cuts both ways though, from one side of Rathergate, to the heart of The Downing Street Memo.

    Second, it's funny that this diary comments on suspect sources, but then goes on to site Wikipedia for clarification.  I'm not saying that isn't right, but I know I have seen a lot of suspect facts on Wikipedia too.  And some true facts as well.  I'm just saying it's funny.

    •  I think it is good that the MSM (none)
      listens to blogs and checks out stories which are being ignored.

      But the big difference between downing street minutes and this is

      DSM - you had official documents, and a story being covered internationally completely ignored in US

      This story - you have a bunch of rumors and no documents, and no reportage elsewhere to draw on...

      I applaud the MSM using blogs as a resource to find emerging stories. But if they just repeat what they read without fact-checking they are worse than blogs, because they stamp a story with more legitimacy than it gets in a blog.

      I agree with you about wikipedia it is certainly inconsistent. Interestingly enuf though, wikipedia often gives excellent summaries, and due to the process, assuming there are people writing the article on many sides of an issue, it includes more points of view than you will find almost anywhere else.

      •  the difference is right/left blogs (none)
        Spin:
          When right wing blogs start going nuts about something like say, memo inaccuracies (Dan Rather memo) they are intrepid challenges to mainstream media, keeping it on its toes, and their "research" will become major news.
         When left wing blogs expose a major story not being covered in MSM (Downing Street - though was covered in British Msm and Gannon/Guckert) msm will only cover the story by way of remarking on "why do those crazy liberals think this bizarre story is important?"
  •  What a bunch or retards (none)
    I hate that I used that description but I swear to God - were all of these people dropped on their heads when they were babies?!

    I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country. - Ambassador Joseph Wilson

    by HootieMcBoob on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM PDT

  •  Former Republican Chief of Staff Steals from Kids (4.00)
    Seems to be this is a more accurate description of this story.

    Time for a Frame attack? :-)

    a view from abroad ....

    by icerat on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 01:00:05 PM PDT

  •  Chutzpah (4.00)
    Considering the extent to which the Moonies raise money for Washington Times owner Rev. Moon by claiming to be fundraising for sick children, this is quite a charge!
  •  Hate having to inject a subject for every comment! (none)
    Great diary, and incredibly inspiring work! Recommended.

    Neo

  •  Could this be Michael Horowitz?? (4.00)
    I know there are a lot of Michael Horowitz's, but this seems like a good candidate: he is an attorney at the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

    Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, one of the world's most prominent law firms, has sought to anticipate and meet our clients' changing legal needs for 200 years. In the process, we have established long-standing relationships with many of the world's premier financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and other leading corporations, government entities, charitable and health care organizations, and individual private clients. We have earned a reputation for crafting innovative business and financial solutions and developing precedent-setting legal strategies to achieve our clients' goals.

    Highlights from his bio:

    Michael E. Horowitz is a litigation partner and member of the Business Fraud and Complex Litigation Group. Drawing on his experience as a high-level official at the Justice Department in Washington and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York City, Mr. Horowitz counsels and represents corporations and individuals in complex civil litigation matters, and on a variety of criminal and regulatory issues including securities, antitrust, health care, banking, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and white collar crime matters.

    Mr. Horowitz also has substantial expertise dealing with compliance, corporate governance, and sentencing issues. President Bush nominated Mr. Horowitz, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in May 2003, to serve a six year term as a Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission (a part-time position which allows him to maintain his practice at the firm). Mr. Horowitz had previously served as a member of the Sentencing Commission's Advisory Group on the Organizational Guidelines, where he reviewed the impact of the guidelines on corporate compliance programs. While working at the Justice Department in 2001, Mr. Horowitz was appointed by the Attorney General to serve as the Department's ex-officio member of the Sentencing Commission, where he helped rewrite the sentencing guidelines for fraud and money laundering offenses....

    From 1991 through 1999, Mr. Horowitz was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Chief of the Public Corruption Unit. He successfully prosecuted and supervised a variety of sophisticated white collar matters involving securities fraud, health care fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental crime, money laundering, and tax evasion.

    His firm keeps a list of their media quotes, and one is from the Bronx News, for what that's worth.

    Cadwalader recognized as sponsor of the American Heart Association's 2004 Wall Street Run & Heart Walk held on Thursday evening, September 23, 2004.
    25-Year-Old Survivor to Lead Heart Walk, Bronx News
    August 19, 2004

    Think this is totally irrelevant?  Maybe.

    He's a Bush appointee.

     

    •  This law firm also has Delay/Abramoff ties (4.00)
      see this Michael Isikoff Newsweek article from April, which includes the following paragraph:

      House rules require members to accurately report who pays for their travel. In this case, DeLay reported the $64,000 trip as being sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank whose board members included Abramoff. The National Center said it did finance the trip. But its lawyer confirmed to NEWSWEEK that it had received a substantial contribution from a "white shoe" law firm--which sources identified as Cadwalader, Wickersham Taft--to cover the cost. Cadwalader had been retained by Naftasib and a closely related firm, registered in the Bahamas. The New York law firm in turn hired Abramoff's firm to do the heavy lifting in Washington. Both firms were paid handsomely for their work, collecting more than $440,000 in fees in 1997, primarily to set up meetings for their Russian oil clients with members of Congress and federal agencies.
  •  why the attempted distraction? (none)
    I wonder if all this smoke about nothing means Rush is finally about to come up for trial on drug dealing and doctor shopping charges?

    This would be typical of the "Hey, look over there!" motives of wingnut blogistan.

  •  does this story even have ANY legs? (none)
    Frankly, other than a couple of details (I knew about the "Camp Air America" thing from listening to Morning Sedition), this is really the first I've heard about this story. It doesn't seem to me to have made any inroads into the MSM, and doesn't seem like it's going to.

    The rightwing blog circus bloviating to each other about a story doesn't really constitute media attention, in and of itself.

    ...Freedom is on the march. Straight to the gas chamber. this is infidelica...

    by snookybeh on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 02:30:10 PM PDT

    •  Kerry and swiftboaters (none)
      Isn't this exactly what Kerry's advisors must have told Kerry when the swiftboat abomination surfaced?

      Also, isn't getting covered on CNN not bad enough? And do we know if it won't get covered over the next one week? In fact, this one goes straight to the heart of Air America's legitimacy and hence survival, and the allegations must be put to rest in a complete and consummate manner.

      In addition, the diary paints an anatomy of how the rightwing spin machine spreads a given spin instance, and the poster did an outstanding job of getting as much to the bottom of things as he or she could.

      Neo

      •  That's why... (none)
        ...we debunk it right away, and make sure that CNN et al know that if they run with this as if it's pure fact, they get their asses sued.
      •  that's not what I'm saying (none)
        of course it should be debunked - all phony stories should be debunked immediately.

        what I was asking was, has this story actually gotten any attention in the MSM yet? Hell, I listen to AAR every damn day, and I haven't even heard it referred to on any of the AAR shows. A story would have to get beyond one mention on a CNN blog thingy to "have legs."

        So what I'm asking, has the story popped up anywhere else?

        ...Freedom is on the march. Straight to the gas chamber. this is infidelica...

        by snookybeh on Sun Jul 31, 2005 at 07:54:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  More roving (4.00)
    This whole fiasco seems wrought with Carl Rove's fingerprints.  Take unrelated events and link them together in some obscure way to demonize your opponents.  All this nonsense about tying Air America to someone who they let go quite some time ago is typical right wing spin.  It seems that most of these stories are similar to the Miller stories in that they don't follow the journalistic principle of obtaining sources from both sides of the issue.  The Republicans should quit worrying about Air America and focus on how they are going to keep their Svengali(Carl Rove)  from ending up in a license plate factory.
  •  Absolutely Brilliant Diary (none)
    I hope you've alerted AAR and sent this to them.

    Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Jul 30, 2005 at 10:03:43 PM PDT

  •  Is the Ministry of Lies going into overdrive? (none)
    Fantastic.  There ought to be 100 mahas in a big office equiped with supercomputers and multilined phones and transcriptionists going after every scrap of right wing BS out there.

    Now, accusing AAR of looting the poor, as nasty as it is, could be much worse.  It's got me wondering--is the AAR story just a try-out, a light opener, for a super-slimy campaign?

    Neo-con lies are to be expected, like hemorrhoids and dandruff; but with their house of cards collapsing, it seems likely that they would now be making a very special and continuing project of slandering the left.

    Think forged documents and photos, false accusers, etc.

    Is the Republican Ministry of Lies now going into overdrive?

  •  Birth or an Urban Legend! (none)
    Start the debunking right away.  Send this thread to http://www.snopes.com

    They check out the urban legends and post information about them.  Sort of a cheesy little site with goofy graphics and music, but fairly interesting and accurate.  I found them when I checked out the infamous Target e-mail chain still going around.  It is easier to quell this sort of lie when you can tell the well-meaning people who pass it on that the story is a goofy urban legend that has blown up and become a self-perpetuating rumor.  

    Here is the link to the Target e-mail thing if you haven't run into this.  
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/target.asp

    I personally think Malkin had bats in her hair during a formative teen year to make her this way.  And then there was that hitchhiker she picked up who told her about WMDs who turned out to have died in Iraq- so of course he knew the truth from beyond the grave.

  •  I knew something (none)
    was funky with this story when I started seeing it pop up even here, at dkos, in the most unexpected places.

    All of a sudden, in a conversation about Bolton, Rove, Wilson, etc., I would see a post, "Did you hear the one about Air America stealing from poor kids" as well as the one "Valerie Plame went to a Bruce Springsteen concert for Democrats! (Thanks, reddrink!).

    If all they can come up with now is ad hominem attacks and bogus corruption stories in response to the very real corruption, dishonesty, fraud and profiteering on the right, they really are down to shooting blanks.

    Fortunately, this community is way too savvy to get distracted by this sort of bullshit and has kept the real fight going strong.  Go Kossacks!

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

    by Bcre8ve on Sun Jul 31, 2005 at 01:22:54 AM PDT

  •  Malkin destroys vollyball team (none)
    After Michelle Malkins fifth abortion(her dna is all over recent embrionic stem cell research)The American beach Vollyball association, located in Upstate New York next door to the famous Bronx News, filed a protest with ESPN for denying them future advertising dollars. Feel free to link this message.
  •  Link to Bronx News Story (none)
    Just in case no one has been able to find the Bronx News story on the web, it's here.

    It's not nearly as much of a "J'accuse!" piece as the NY Post or Washington Times have published. But it's also attributed to "informed sources" so who really knows what's going on? Knowing Evan Cohen's record as a con artist, it seems most likely that he scammed the Boys & Girls' Club just as he scammed the original AAR investors.

  •  For chrissake, it's a real paper! (none)
    Of course, that doesn't mean the story isn't crap.  

    But Gotham Gazette is a serious website, and it's run by people who know NYC cold.  If the Gotham Gazette had a link to the "NYC Department of Martian Assistance and Assimiliation," while I wouldn't take it as evidence that Martians had landed in NYC, I'd bet any of you any sum of money that our fair city actually had a Martian help desk, and that if you knew the right guy you could find it.  

    Something similar is going on here.  This piece was actually printed in a local NYC paper, but that doesn't mean it's accurate.  There are bazillions of neighborhood rags in NYC, and they have their own little histories and prejudices, and work in varying degrees of isolation.  It's fully possible that this reporter got a legitimate inside scoop on the investigation of an organization whose leadership had ties to Air America, and didn't realize that this was a case of two organizations getting taken by the same con artist, and not one big organization beating up on a little one.  His prejudices may have made him more sympathetic to this assumption, but it's really not at all unlikely that he could have amazing inside information on a local investigation while not having a goddam clue about AA's rocky start.  That wouldn't slow him down a whit from publishing--NYC reporters go off half cocked more or less constantly.  One of the reasons the city has such a tough political reputation.  

    And I cannot let this be posted without a link to a blog entry that epitomizes how things get done in NYC political media

           

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